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沉香阁

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    沉香阁是一所佛教尼众寺院。位于上海老城隍庙西侧,占地面积约三千平方米,始建于明代,历经四百余年历史。因供奉沉香观音而闻名海内外。是全国重点文物保护单位。

 

    明朝万历二十八年(1600年)进士及第官拜四川布政使的上海豫园主人潘允端,奉命办理漕运、疏浚淮河打捞沉船时,意外打捞出一尊沉香观音佛像。相传该沉香观音佛像是隋代物品,系马来半岛赤土国王赠送隋炀皇帝的礼物。不料在运输途经淮河时,船遇风浪,佛像沉入河底。后潘允端事母至孝,知母敬佛,将沉香观音装金后供奉于潘家祠堂前的佛阁内。

 

    因潘允端为政缘故,沉香阁明清史上不仅是百姓祈求风调雨顺、消灾纳福的地方,也是上海官员为皇帝、太后登基,生日祝福朝拜之地。因此寺内香火兴旺。

 

    清代,潘氏门第渐衰,祠毁阁朽。康熙年间,上海士绅捐资修缮。嘉庆六年(1801年)上海巡道,知县发起募捐,并将沉香阁迁址城隍庙西北重建,改名慈云禅寺。该寺几经扩建.前门增建山门石坊、弥勒殿、中建天王殿、大雄宝殿、后为沉香观音楼,另建有鹤轩、禅堂及左右厢楼。规模齐整,古朴典雅。

 

    1943年,近代高僧应慈法师应寺院主持苇乘法师之邀,卓锡寺内专讲《华严经》,因此沉香阁又成为弘扬华严佛门道场。

 

    “文革”动乱,寺院罹难,沉香阁遭受严重损坏。1989年年底落政并被国务院列为全国142个重点开放寺庙之一。1990年重新修复。历经五年,重现了明清时代建筑风貌。

 

    如今沉香阁典雅清净,佛事兴旺,已成为全国重点开放的一座比丘尼寺院之一。内附设上海佛学院尼众部。1996年12月,又被列为全国重点文物保护单位。

 

    Located in the western part of the Old City of Shanghai, Chen Xiang Monastery, Which is famous for the Eaglewood Statue of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, was established in Ming Dynasty. It is named after the Eaglewood Statue of AvalokitesVara enshrined in it and has attracted tremendous Buddhist pilgrims during the past 400 years.

 

    In 1600, Pan Yunduan, the owner of Yu Garden, dredged Huai River under instruction and refloated an Eaglewood Statue of AvalokitesVara. It was said that the Eaglewood Statue was the present of the Emperor Sui Yang in Sui Dynasty, sent by the king of Malay, but it sank into the river in the transportation due to stormy waves .As Pan Yunduan was a filial son and he knew his mother was a Buddhist, he gilded and enshrined the statue in the Buddhist pavilioniin in front of  the ancestral hall of the family for his mother.

 

    In Qing Dynasty, the Buddhist pavilion was destroyed. With  the Pan’s clan falling into straitened circumstances.And in 1801, the local government initiated donations and rebuilt it in the northwest part of the Old City in Shanghai, and also renamed it as Ci Yun Monastery. After several times’ extension, many pristine constructions were built, such as the meditation hall and so on.

 

    In 1943, invited by the abbot master Wei cheng. the eminent Ying Ci master in modern times began to spread Hua Yan Sutra, Therefore Chen Xiang Monastery also became a famous Hua Yan ashram in Buddhism.

 

    Because of the turmoil in “Cultural Revolution”, Chen Xiang Monastery was almost destroyed. Fortunately, after the third Plenary Session, the state council announced it as one of the 142 national key -open temples.in 1989 and restored it in 1990 .The era temple architecture style of Ming and QING Dynasty,was reproduced after five years of restoration.

 

    Chen Xiang Monastery, which opens to public, has been one of the leading Bhikshuni monasteries in China. It was certified as a cultural relic for national preservation in December 1996. And now Shanghai Bhikshuni Buddhist College is located in the monastery.

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